The Sunday before Masters week officially gets underway for most players is a special day for families. Especially the Scott family.
National finals of the children’s Drive, Chip and Putt competition take part on the course and practice facilities of Augusta National, with parents, siblings, grandparents and more watching on, creating memories that will last a life time. Adding to the amazing experience are green jacket wearing champions presenting victors from the event with awards, among them Australia’s lone Masters winner Adam Scott, who created more family memories of his own on Sunday.
Scott spoke to a small group of assembled media in his green jacket under the club’s famous Oak tree before heading the first tee with his father, Phil, and a member for 18 holes. A benefit of having won the event in 2013 that is just part of the formula that has Scott “at peace” with the famous venue.
“For sure, it’s a nice event that their doing here, its six years in and I think it’s going along really well,” Scott said of taking part in the activities on Sunday. “And then of course for me and my dad it’s a very special day of the year that he gets to come and play with me here. So I think he’s going to milk that as much as he can and I like it too. I get to play my 18 holes today and then really pace myself Monday through Wednesday and play as little or as much as I feel I need to.”
Scott appeared calm and in good spirits as he got his practice round underway, and while almost every experienced player teeing it up this week says they know the course and are comfortable with it, the Queenslander suggests that those who have won the tournament before have a significant advantage on the famed property.
RIGHT: Scott will stay with the Directed Force putter he used at The Players Championship. PHOTO: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.
“I mean there is a level of comfort coming here,” Scott said of his emotions returning each year. “If I think about the years coming here before I won, how anxious you were and how much you wanted the opportunity to maybe win here, how special it all is and then of course I still come back wanting to win another Masters but I don’t have all the extra nervous anxiety all those kind of things. I just feel, I think I have heard a few other champions talk about how they feel at peace with the place and the golf course especially. Because that’s the one big thing I think until I won, although I felt more comfortable each year, not really at peace.”
After missing the Australian summer to better prepare for the start of 2019, Scott has shown good form leading into the first major of the year. And with the improved play has come a more relaxed and happy attitude on the course, something that Scott says starts at home.
“I think generally some stuff I’ve worked on, on the course and off the course in the off-season is kind of falling into place and just a bit more calmness generally in my life, and most of that revolves around what I do on the golf course, how calm or not I am,” he said. “And I feel like I’m in a good spot, so we’ve kind of hit this spot in the year where every tournament is a huge event in the next few months and I feel like I have worked my game into a nice spot, but if ever there was a time to peak it’s kind of now and the next couple of months.
“Everything’s been going really well, I had a nice stretch of preparation really, you know rest and some good work over the last couple of weeks since The Players, there was lots of good stuff there. And I think even though I haven’t been playing I feel like the momentum of my game has been in a good spot and I’m very comfortable about where things are at.”
Part of the preparation for this week was a trip to the tournament site last week with caddie John Limanti who has never caddied at Augusta before. The 38-year-old wanting his latest looper to become familiar with the shots he sees and likes to hit on the course that tests tournament players games like no other.
Another element of preparing for The Masters was settling on a putter and style to use this week.
Scott, who says he has been “putting well”, will stay with the Directed Force putter he used in his two most recent PGA Tour starts, including his tie for 12th at The Players. And will also stick with his approach of keeping the pin in when putting at Augusta National. Even managing a smirk and a quick reply when told fellow Masters Champion Fuzzy Zoeller had suggested doing so at Augusta was “sacrilegious”.
“I mean putting with a broomstick was sacrilegious too, so that got banned so maybe eventually they will ban putting with the flagstick in also,” Scott said.
Scott sticking to his guns and going with what works best for him rather than caving to others suggestions as to how he should go about the game. A strategy that worked in 2013 with the long putter and could see him become the first player in history to hole a winning putt on Augusta’s 18th with the recognisable yellow pin in the hole as well as becoming Australia’s first multiple winner.